There are two ways that people tend to approach relationships: there are those who develop bonds based on proximity, bonding only with those who they must interact within their everyday lives and those who choose to spend their time with people who inspire, challenge and change them for the better.
You see this a lot in romantic relationships when a couple who’s been together for years makes a lifelong commitment because that’s just what you do, or the girl who stays in an unhealthy friend group because it happens to be her peers and she happens to have to see them every day.
People who fall into relationships mindlessly are in more dangerous terrain than they recognize. The people closest to you will have the biggest impact on you throughout the course of your life. Who you surround yourself with, you will become the most like.
Every relationship influences and shifts us, however slightly. And that’s why it’s so easy to confuse someone who challenges you for someone who pushes you away from yourself.
A relationship that challenges you is one that makes you want to be better for yourself. A relationship that pushes you away is one that makes you feel as though you need to change in order to keep that person around. A relationship that challenges you is one that makes you think in new and different ways. A relationship that pushes you away is one that makes you feel as though all of your own thoughts and opinions are wrong, and theirs are ultimately correct.
A relationship that challenges you makes you more self-aware than ever, making you conscious of that which you didn’t realize about yourself, good and bad. A relationship that pushes you away picks out and harps down on every flaw within you until you’re reduced to being defined by your mistakes.
A relationship that challenges you makes you more yourself than ever before, and a relationship that pushes you away makes you less.
Every relationship changes in you in some way, which is why it can be so confusing and painful to try to decipher which is soul development and which is toxic manipulation.
What you have to remember is that someone who loves you will make you feel so comfortable and safe, you’ll feel free enough to step out of your inner cage and love yourself, too. Someone who is using you will affirm that you are not enough as you are, and put you through the wringer trying to prove your worth.
Exploring the “infinite layers of your suffering” is not how you find joy, it is not how you find life, it is not how you move on. A relationship that challenges you will ask you to be more present than ever before. A relationship that pushes you away will shove you into corners until you’re totally shut down.